Decided to write, because most of the stories are from girls from the East, and I’m the “Nazi” that they talk about so much.
I was born in a Ukrainian-speaking family in a Ukrainian-speaking town. There were no people in my environment who speak Russian. Russian Russian movies were watched and Russian songs were listened to. I studied Russian at I honestly didn’t like it at school, there were a lot of rules and an incomprehensible hard sign, but I read books on it with pleasure. I probably got my first Russian-speaking friend at uni. But if you ask which of my classmates spoke what language, I probably won’t remember.
And it didn’t matter.
I started thinking about language issues after 2014, when everyone was talking about some kind of infringement of Russian speakers. I moved to Kiev with my husband in 2019, worked as a school teacher. And if they ask me which of my students speaks which language, I won’t remember, although I know the names of their pets and who likes which cartoon. I have a Russian-speaking director and head teacher, many teachers they also speak Russian.But I don’t speak Russian on principle.
And why? My Ukrainian is better and richer, it’s easier for me, although it’s not perfect. And I like the laws on the protection of the Ukrainian language. There should be more of them. I want to read fashion magazines and watch movies in my native language (our movie voiceovers are objectively cooler). I want to read the signs and menus in Kiev in Ukrainian. I want to be told “I love you” when I go to a bank or a salon. I understood that I could influence it myself only with my penny. I bought things in online stores only if they answered me and kept a page in Ukrainian. I’m a buyer, I can choose. I went to a Ukrainian-speaking hairdresser and a manicure master. I had a hard time, but I found a driving instructor who teaches in Ukrainian. (by the way, there are three or four of them in Kiev). If I was served in Ukrainian, I gave a big tip and said that it was nice to hear my language.
Now I live with my parents. Our city is small, everyone knows everyone. And if they hear Russian in the store, they look with apprehension. There was no such thing before the war. Russian is associated with the enemy, with the invader, marauder and rapist. After the war, when we win, I want Russian-speaking Ukrainians to learn the language of their country. It is the second most beautiful in the world. And then no one will come to “save” them.
The first two weeks I couldn’t sleep, I was afraid of the wind and loud noises, I woke up from the horrors that a bomb had hit my house in Kiev and I was running somewhere with cats in my arms. Now I’ve calmed down, sort of. But the other day there was a bombing very close. So security is always relative. I don’t want to go abroad, because I am the only woman in the family who can drive. And if I have to leave, then it’s me who will take my mother and the animals, and we have a lot of them.
Work saves. We have a private school, we began to adapt very quickly and efficiently. So, half the day the head is busy with children, lessons, preparation. Nobody talks about the future here. I am a man of a plan for five years ahead. I was supposed to have France in the spring for a week, in the summer for two to Portugal, music festivals, on the sea with tents. My husband and I were looking for a house near Kiev, we planned to have another dog, a child in a year. My husband works (worked) in a German company near Kiev. And I’m still
I’m sure I have a job until July.